It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us.

Rising sealevel flooding

When former US Vice President Al Gore warned about the consequences of global warming and climate change and was both applauded and condemned for his efforts, there were still more deniers than believers that our modern civilization was causing this two sided phenomenon.

Since 2007, When Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in Oslo, Norway,  the unpleasant realities of both global warming and climate change have been advancing more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. This has resulted in the UN issuing a report in 2014; saying that in regards to climate change, the “worst is yet to come”, due to Mankind’s abuse of the natural environment.

In addition to the serious combined effects that global warming and climate change have had on world weather patterns, increasing world temperatures have caused the earth’s polar ice caps to melt at rates never experienced in our planet’s recorded history.

This has resulted in steadily rising sea levels that are now threatening a large number of coastel cities. These include cities in the United States like Miami Florida, Charleston South Carolina; and also large parts of the New York City metropolitan coastal areas. A February 23 article in the New York Times covered the problems and misery that people are facing in the aforementioend cities due to rising sea levels causing flooding and severe ecological damage to lawns and other vegitation and polluting local water supplies.

According to the article, greenhouse gas emissions, largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels, “have caused the oceans to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome.”

The coastal flooding that has resulted from these rising sea levels is making life so miserable for people living in coastal cities that flooding by sea water is becomming commonplace; even when off-shore storms are not the blame.

In the words of Benjamin Strauss, author of a study of the effects of rising sea water on coastal communities that was released on Monday, February 22:

“I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding. It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”

Us. We, the members of the planet’s most intelligent and now most numerous species of warm-blooded animals inhabiting it, are now considered the blame. There should be no more denying that human caused greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in these rising sea levels that are also causing problems in the Mediterranean region as well.

This also includes many parts of the Middle East, especially the Arabian Gulf. Whether one lives in Venice, Italy; Beirut, Lebanon; Alexandria, Egypt; Tel Aviv, Israel, or Dubai, UAE,  the combined effects of rising temperatures and sea levels are being increasingly experienced.

Oceanography experts now say the situation of rising levels “will then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.”

This in itself would be disastrous since some of the world’s most populous cities include Hong Kong, New York City and Tokyo, Japan. Yet, despite world oil prices plunging to recent record lows, oil is still being pumped out of the ground in near-record amounts; or flooded out by methods such as fracking, that is also polluting underground fresh water supplies.

In the recent COP 21 Climate Change Conference, held last December in Paris, 195 countries adopted the first ever, legally binding global climate deal that strives to keep annual rising world temperatures to under 2 degrees Celsius.

The problem regarding this agreement is that it is only scheduled to take effect in the year 2020. By then, four years from now, the continuing affects of fossil fuel caused global warming may already have caused many coastal areas to suffer irreversable damage so severe that partial or even total abandonment may be the only viable option.

Read more on effects of global warming and climate change in the Middle East and elsewhere:
Climate change “worst” is yet to come, UN report warns today
Saudi agriculture to be hit hard by climate change
Should Al Gore profit from global warming? Should any of us?

Photo of Florida coastal flooding by ireport.cnn.com

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